Before & After, Furniture Building, House / Bedroom, Small-Space Solution

How-To: Wine Crate Nightstand

Remember those modern wooden nightstands that Ryan and I built 1.5 years ago?  Well, they’ve been gone since October, when I sold them in a yard sale.

After living with them for a year, I realized that we had no need for large nightstands, and they were just another piece of furniture that we had to dust and keep clutter-free.  Oh, and having the open bottoms?  The pet hair that collected was ridiculous.   I don’t know what on earth most people use enormous nightstands for, unless they are living in a small apartment and need to maximize space. 

Building Nightstands

So out went the nightstands, and for the last 3 months we lived with an unfinished look in the bedroom.  We used my DIY  fabric-covered storage boxes as a stand-in, until I got around to implementing a small-scale bedside storage solution that I’d had in mind for ages:  a hanging wine crate nightstand.

I think that a hanging wine crate would make a great side table, bedside table, or storage solution for any small apartment.  Or if you’re me, and want to keep things simple, it also works in a larger place, like a house 🙂

How To: Wine Crate Nightstand

Here’s how I did it:

 1. Select a crate & stabilize it

I had several wooden wine crates in our storage room, so I selected the one with a hinged lid on it.  I knew it would make a good “door”.

Some of the corner joints looked a little unstable to me, and I worried that it may not stay together well with use, so I glued the seams and clamped them tight for 24 hours.  When I removed the clamps, the box was definitely much more stable.  Wood glue is seriously strong stuff.

Stabilizing Wood Crates

2.  Stain or paint

There are many ways you could treat the unfinished wood of the crate.  A clear poly sealant if you love the brand name and wood grain, or paint or stain of any type.  I chose to do a rustic painted finish on the crate that would tie into our bedroom colors.

First I gave it a once-over with my electric sander, then I grabbed a small sample can of brown paint left over from the first nightstand-building project.

Painting Wood Crates

To paint the wood but let the grain show through, I first brushed some paint onto a section, then used a cloth sponge to wipe it off.  This process, which I made up on the fly, seemed to work perfectly for getting some color into the wood but not glossing over the grain.

The end result was exactly what I was going for:

How to paint but keep woodgrain

3.  Seal and protect

I gave the paint about 24 hours to dry, then applied two coats of Polyurethane sealant to seal and protect the wood.  This step is necessary no matter what, because I’ve found that unsealed wood is impossible to dust, but great at grabbing dust.

4.  Hang it up!

We used plastic anchors and standard screws to hang this on the wall, because we don’t intend to put a lot of weight on it.

The side of the crate that was going flush against the wall was formerly the crate bottom, and was made of very thin plywood.  I decided to strengthen and stabilize it for hanging by bracing a thin strip of wood flush against the back, and right below some interior brackets.  This way, the screws go through the stabilizer strip as well as the back of the crate.  And by doing this, the crate is not hanging on the strength of the back alone, it’s also hanging on the strength of the side brackets.  See photo below:

Hanging nightstands

I am very happy with the finished product.  It’s just big enough for me to set a mug of tea on, and my books, chap stick, and journal are tucked neatly inside. Oh, and I hot-glued a little tin container to the side to hold my pen.

It’s simple, but it’s the perfect size for me.

Hanging wine crates

Another benefit of the wall-hung nightstand:  It means there’s one less thing in the way come vacuuming time, and less surface area to cover with hair and dust.  And when you live in a house full of pets – these are very important factors.

Small nightstand with storage

Shoot, now I see that i really need to hide those lamp cords.  Guess I’ll add that to the list!

There’s only one problem – Ryan was strongly opposed to having a wine crate nightstand installed on his side.  So things are a bit asymmetrical, and I’m getting the feeling they won’t be changing anytime soon.

I miss the pretty and symmetrical look of the large nightstands, but I don’t miss trying to keep them dusted.

Have you ever made furniture with wine crates?

Shared at Tutorial Tuesday with Newlyweds on a Budget and Power of Paint with Domestically Speaking.

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13 Comments

  • Reply Jessica at 8:50 am

    OMG!! so want that for my room 🙂

    • Reply Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 9:20 am

      Grab a wine crate and it can be done! But you can’t have as much crap on it as you had on your enormous bedside table 🙂

  • Reply Funnelcloud Rachel at 9:22 am

    Your bedroom looks so calm and relaxing! (Maybe because you don’t have a nightstand full of clutter like I do?) Also, I can’t believe you SOLD furniture that you went to the trouble of making!

    I’m hoping to move our nightstands to our guest room once we get proper bedroom furniture in our bedroom. I think the reason I have so much junk in mine is that it is the only furniture we have in here (we don’t have dressers). The previous owners of our house had wall-mounted nightstands, but the the dangling cords always bothered me.I do have the dog hair problem, too with the lower shelf on my nightstand. How do you keep the dog hair off your white duvet? We don’t let the dogs on any of the furniture or our bed, but their hair seems to stick to it anyway, so I nixed the possibility of ever having a white comforter. :(Also, is that a coffee sack dog bed and will you be making them for sale?!

    • Reply Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 9:29 am

      First, thank you! We made a concerted effort to plan a calm and simple bedroom. It helps that we each have our closets in other bedrooms (soaking up the luxury of space without babies, while we can). I absolutely found that having the larger nightstand attracted clutter.

      What if you did a dresser instead of a nightstand?

      At first I hesitated to sell the nightstands because they took forEVER to make, but we reminded ourselves that there’s no point keeping something we didn’t need or have space for.

      We don’t let the dogs on the bed either except for occasional weekend snuggles. The duvet cover is a cheapo one from Ikea, and we take it off probably once a month and wash it. It’s just a smooth cotton, and doesn’t grab the hair – which is awesome. It’s been about 1.5 years now and it’s only a little dingy. I highly recommend it! I had previous quilts and duvet covers in different fabrics, like the waffle quilted shiny satiny ones from Target, and they grab hair like crazy. This is plain cotton like a sheet – I think it provides less texture for the hair to stick to.

      Yes, that is a coffee sack dog bed and yes, I have a stash of coffee sacks, and yes, I need to list them in the shop – just need to get the time to photograph them and figure out how the heck to do shipping for something that bulky. Want to do a trade? 🙂

  • Reply Loren Cline at 10:33 am

    This is lovely, perfect night stand, I could totally use something like this.

  • Reply Leigh at 10:44 am

    What a good idea.  I like my big-ish, but not as big as a dresser, nightstand because I do keep a lot in.  But the dust and dog hair is a pain!

  • Reply Jessica at 11:35 am

    Cute idea but I don’t think it would work for me unfortunately. I definitely like to have a bigger space to keep things in..

    Love how it looks though, you did a great job!

    • Reply Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 11:53 am

      Thanks! I totally get that – I think everyone has different preferences on how much storage the bedside table should have.

  • Reply jenn@ahomeinthemaking at 12:47 pm

    This is brilliant! I’ve been trying to come up with a small out-of-the-way nightstand for our guest bedroom, and this is EXACTLY the answer. 🙂

  • Reply Amy at 8:12 am

    so cute!!  love it!

  • Reply Stephanie at 5:44 am

    This is a really great idea!  My criteria for a good night table is that it has to have hidden storage.  Our last night tables were open, and they were always such a mess.  I could definitely see how a hanging crate makes vacuuming easier!

  • Reply Wine Pine at 11:54 pm

    Great How-to! The flip-top door is such a great touch.

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